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3nth Thousand. 



Price Sixpence. 




he Decline 
nd Pall of the 
ilritish Empire 




PL brief account of those causes which 
resulted in the destruction of our late 
,^ Ally, together with a comparison 
II between the British and Roman 
Empires. 



^ppomted for usq In i\)9 

J^aHona! Scbools of Japan 

— ToHlo, 2005— 



©jtOtd : 

ALDEN & CO. LTD., BOCARDO PRESS 
London : 
4PKIN, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co. Ltd. 
1905 



The Pectine and 'fall 

■' -'■■t: 

A brief account of those causes which 

resulted in the destruction of our late Ally, 

together with a comparison between the 

British and Roman Empires 

(Cppomtecf for use )n k\)z 
j^dHonal Scbools of Japan 

" Men are we and must grieve when e'en the shade 
Of that which once was great has passed away." 

An English Poet. 

— ToIjJo, 2005— 

TENTH THOUSAND. 



OXFORD : 
ALDEN & CO. LTD., BOCARDO PRESS 

LONDON : 

Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co. Ltd> 






:.-:;■;•■; ,iPRESS" 'NOTICES. 

We commend strongly to the electors of 
England a little brochure just issued, entitled 
* The Decline and Fall of the British Empire.' "— 
Morning Post. 

"Written in all seriousness and honesty of 
purpose and written well... This little book should 
be read." — The Standard, 

*' Literature of the * Battle of Dorking' class 
has a perennial interest, but is apt to err on the 
side of exaggeration. No such fault can be 
found with the startling brochure just published 
at Oxford, in which a Japanese historian in 
2005 recounts the * Decline and Fall of the 
British Empire.' The causes that produced the 
catastVophe are set forth so forcibly and so 
truthfully that they must impress even the most 
apathetic amongst us." — Pall Mall Gazette. 

** Quite in the dead season a great sensation is 
caused by a sixpenny pamphlet entitled * The 
Decline and Fall of the British Empire.'. . . No 
one will be the worse for reading what, recalling 
Macaulay's Lay, is for no party, but entirely for 
the State." — Liverpool Daily Post and Mercury. 

" We deem it our duty to recommend it warmly 
to the notice of all our readers, for it deals in an 
original and striking manner with the causes which 
are at the present moment undermining the splen- 
did fabric of our Empire." — National Service 
League Journal. 

** A clever application of Gibbon to a later day 
than that he wrote about, and makes capital 
holiday reading." — The Scotsman. 

For other Press Notices see end of book. 



^'^^ 



PREFACE. 

This little book is intended for 
use in the upper classes of our 
National Schools. It will, we hope, 
supply a long-felt need. Any Empire, 
which wishes to play a notable part 
in the history of the World, must 
realize that other Empires as proudly 
exultant as herself have passed 
away. If she wishes to avoid a 
similar fate, her inhabitants must 
from childhood be acquainted with 
the errors of their predecessors if 
haply they may avoid them. 

Had the English people, at the 
opening of the Twentieth Century, 
turned to Gibbon's Decline and Fall 
of Jhe Roman Empire, they might 
have found in it a not inaccurate 
description of themselves. This 



840676 



iv Preface 

they failed to do, and we know the 
result. In compiling this book, my 
thanks are therefore due to that 
laborious author. In numerous in- 
stances I have found those phrases 
in which he described the decadence 
of Rome singularly applicable to the 
England of the Twentieth Century. 
In all such cases I give references to 
Gibbon's work in the English Bohn 
Edition, 7 volumes, 1853-5. 

THE AUTHOR. 

ToKio, 2005. 



THE DECLINE AND FALL OF 
THE BRITISH EMPIRE* 



npHE sudden Fall of' oitr ^teat 
Western Ally ten years ago, 
unanticipated as it was ])y t-ie 
thoughtless mass of mankind, should 
have come as no surprise to those 
few persons who study the rise and 
fall of Empires, and are acquainted 
with the causes which, in every case, 
have brought about their dissolution. 
No writer who possesses a heart can 
however afford to look at the fall of 
England merely with the eye of the 
moralist or the calm historian. I 
would therefore remind my readers 
of the great love which our nation 
has always had for the English, and 
of our profound regret when we felt 
♦ Copyright in Thibet. 



2 The Decline and Fall 

it impossible to send our Navy to 
the Far West. The long voyage by 
way of Cape Town was too great an 
adventure to be thus rashly under- 
taken. And even had we saved the 
British from disaster our assistance 
would only ha;ve afforded a brief and 
meffec^ual respit-e. The sources of 
theii' weakness were too deeply 
rooted to be removed in a day. 
They had become too effete and 
'nerve-ridden to guide the destinies 
of the world. 

As Babylon and Assyria have left 
us their monuments, Egypt her pyra- 
mids, Carthage her Queen, and 
Rome her laws, so too England has 
bequeathed to posterity Shakespeare 
and her world-wide language. And, 
while these endure, so long will her 
history be the schoolroom of man- 
kind, and the story of her fall a 
reminder to living Empires of those 
subtle influences which are ever 



of the British Empire 3 

present, to quicken the germs of 
national decay, and transfer the 
sovereignty of the Earth. 

While, therefore, India has fallen 
to Russia, South Africa to Germany, 
Egypt to the Sultan ; while Canada 
has taken shelter beneath the wings 
of the American Eagle, and Australia 
has become a protectorate of the 
Mikado ; all these, like the scattered 
fragments of Rome's mighty Empire, 
will yet possess traces of a common 
language and of a common past. 

There is no written history of the 
Decline and Fall of England. A 
Chinese historian is reported to be 
engaged upon one, but he might 
spare himself the trouble, for, as I 
hinted in my Preface, it is all to be 
found in Gibbon.* Studying his 
seven volumes, as I have recently 
done, and comparing them with 

* Gibbon : Decline and Fall of the Roman 
Empire, 



4 The Decline and Fall 

records of English life from the 
beginning of the Twentieth Century 
tp its close, I have been almost 
startled out of my senses by the 
symptoms of decay common to the 
two epochs. The only difference, 
apart from the setting, is that the 
decline of England was far more 
rapid. The reason is obvious. 
There were far more competitors 
in the field. 

I cannot do better than begin my 
account by referring to the prophetic 
act of a typical English statesman in 
the year 1905. Lord Rosebery* had 
always been happy in his phrases 
but he was never so gloomily felici- 
tous as when in this momentous 
year he gave the name of Cicero| to 

♦ The Author feels that an apology is due for 
this somewhat unkind allusion to a very charming 
personality. He earnestly hopes that all allusions 
to early Edwardian Politics and Letters will be 
read by the English with that kindly spirit in 
which they were written. 

t A famous Roman. 



of the British Empire 5 

a horse with which he won * The 
Derby/ a great Enghsh race. And 
if some friend of that unfortunate 
people had foreseen the future, he 
could scarcely have done better than 
present every member of the British 
Parliament, if not with a Roman 
racehorse, at any rate with a little 
ivory statue of Cicero. 

For Cicero was a great talker. 
He talked incessantly and on all sub- 
jects. He talked of old age and 
virtue ; he talked of books and 
politics ; he talked of Pompey, who 
was the Kitchener of the Italian * man 
in the street'; but above all things he 
talked about the Roman Empire. 
Shortly after Cicero talked about it 
the Roman Empire began to decline. 
Empires do not ask for orators. 
They ask for men of action, who are 
prepared to do their duty. 

Now in 1905 the English House 
of Commons slowly but surely was 



6 The Decline and Fall 

following in the footsteps of Cicero 
and his contemporaries : it was 
becoming a House of Talkers, and 
was ceasing to guide the aspirations 
of the people. In other words, it 
was becoming like nothing so much 
as the staff of one of our up-to-date 
Tokio newspapers, which is blown 
to and fro by every wind of popular 
emotion. 

When he hears that the leaders 
of the British people were of this 
description the Japanese student will 
not be surprised to find signs of 
national decay scattered like ugly 
ulcers through the length and breadth 
of their land. Let us probe some of 
them. 

I. The prevalence of Town over 
Country Life^ and its disastrous effect 
upon the health and faith of the English 
People, 

The first sign of decadence in a 



of the British Empire 7 

Nation appears when it forsakes the 
calm delights of the country to live 
amid the depressing splendour of 
dreary towns. The decay of the 
upright Roman farmer was one of 
the first signs of Rome's weakness, 
and so it was with the English 
people. Their vigour, which they 
gradually ceased to renew by daily 
exercise in the open air, departed 
from them, and with it their con- 
fidence. This is seen in nothing so 
much as in their increasing unwilling- 
ness to emigrate. These declining 
townsfolk, whose ancestors had sunk 
the galleons of Spain and flooded 
America with stalwart colonists, 
were too devoted to their Music 
Halls and the weekly feats of their 
professional athletes, to sally forth 
and encounter the forces of nature.* 

*■ For the possibilities open to English emigrants 
at the beginning of the twentieth century, see 
Africa and National Regeneration y by E. F. 
Chidell. London : Thomas Burleigh, 376 Strand. 



8 The Decline and Fall 

Boasted of as they might be, the 
English Colonies of the nineteenth 
and twentieth centuries were not a 
success. Australia ran into hopeless 
debt and displayed some of the worst 
vices of the Mother Country.* South 
Africa came to depend for its exis- 
tence upon the products of imported 
Eastern labour. The only success- 
ful piece of colonization throughout 
this period was to be found in the 
Salvation Army Labour Colonies in 
Canada. These succeeded because, 
like the original American Colonies, 
they were founded on a practical 
faith in God. To colonize success- 
fully men must go forth, not as 
State-aided emigrants, not as solitary 
wanderers, but in God-fearing gangs : 
and the English of this sad epoch 
were slowly losing their faith in both 
God and themselves. We must not 
be too hard upon them. For town- 

* **Our people in Australia are unduly, and to 
their own detriment, given over to holiday-making, 
to horse-racing, to boastfulness of speech and 



of the British Empire 9 

life, whatever economic advantages 
it may possess, is bound in the end, 
unless vigorously counteracted, to 
have a blighting effect upon our 
sense of the sublime, that avenue 
through which we approach our God. 
Let the Japanese beware lest in 
their growing love for town amuse- 
ments they forget this mighty truth. 

With the enfeebled health and 
physique of the English I shall deal 
later. Another grave result of the 
decay of Agriculture is so well de- 
scribed by Gibbon that I shall avail 
myself of his words. ''Since the age 
of Tiberius,'' he writes, "the decay 
of Agriculture had been felt in Italy ; 
and it was a just subject of complaint 
that the life of the Roman people 
depended on the accidents of the 
winds and waves." Vol. iv, p. 104. 

The same with little alteration 
may be said of the English. As the 

thought, to political experiment, financial reck- 
lessness, improvidence, vaingloriousness." — An 
Australian writer, author of Tommy Co7'nstalk, 
(See Spectator^ Aug. 19, 1905.) 



lo The Decline and Fall 

Twentieth Century advanced they 
became more and more dependent 
on outside help. They gathered 
together into ill-planned towns to 
shout patriotic songs, but they had 
to go to Germany for their guns. 
They had to go to Tolstoi and Wag- 
ner* and Thoreau| to tell them how 
to live. They had to come to us to 
show them how to die. They had 
to go to the past for their patriotism 
and to everybody for their bread. 

II. Growing tendency of the English 
throughout the Twentieth Century to 
forsake the sea except as a health resort. 

Among the countless evidences 
of British decadence this was 
perhaps the most shameful. As the 
Twentieth Century advanced, the 
'*Sons of the Waves,'' as they still 
continued to call themselves, became 
more and more unwilling to embark 

■■•* Author of a book entitled T/ie Simple Life, 
t Author of Walden. 



of the British Empire ii 

upon a seafaring life. Every year 
liners manned by Lascars and con- 
tinental aliens conveyed wealthy 
English invalids across the ocean in 
quest of health. Every year the 
effete townsfolk of Britain invigor- 
ated their languid bodies by a visit to 
the sea -shore. But they ceased to 
equip their Mercantile Marine with 
seamen,* and we know how when 
the call came and they were face to 
face with a hostile Europe, they 
had no adequate Naval Reserves to 
fall back upon. We know too 
how their alien-manned corn-ships 
mutinied and played them false ; we 
know how, in the last stages of 
their decline, both Navy and Mer- 
chant Service were hastily reinforced 
by Metropolitan policemen and 
Government engineers : and we 

* According to Lord Muskerry the numbers of 
aliens in the British merchant service in 1905 were 
as follows : alien captains 511, alien petty officers 
2,991, alien seamen 40,000; and a large number 
of merchant ships were manned solely by aliens. 



12 The Decline and Fall 

know in all its ghastly details the 
disillusioning story of their defeat. 
What the English wanted at the 
opening of the Twentieth Century, 
when these evils were becoming un- 
mistakably prominent, was a number 
of Cabinet Ministers of the President 
Roosevelt type : men with a genius 
for duty, with seasoned bodies and 
masterful minds, who would not 
permit the nation to slumber amid 
the deafening armament of Europe. 

III. The Growth of Refinement 
and Luxury, 

Gibbon makes much of this, and 
the historian of British decadence 
will be equally severe. The evils in 
both nations were remarkably alike. 
We observe the same inclination in 
both to regard pleasure as the end of 
existence ; the same devotion to 
costly banquets ; the same refusal to 
take exercise ; and the same increas- 



of the British Empire 13 

ing popularity of steam or Turkish 
Baths. We note in both Empires 
the growing numbers of irresponsible 
wealthy Capitalists who lavished 
large sums on menials and failed to 
realize that inherited leisure is only 
justified when it is devoted to the 
community. 

In both Empires, as they ap- 
proached the brink, the cost of 
living increased by leaps and bounds, 
and the problems of poverty became 
more acute. Free grants of corn 
and bread were among the chief 
corrosive influences at Rome ; and 
the presentation of free meals to 
British School-children in 1910, was 
one of the most disastrous acts of 
that false philanthropy which did so 
much to ruin England. In both 
Empires too, the numbers of un- 
healthy parents increased, and in 
both the sturdy dutiful yeoman 
dwindled into nothingness. 



14 The Decline and Fall 

Gibbon notes with dismay the 
increasing popularity of spectacular 
shows at Rome, during that epoch 
when it was besieged so frequently 
by the Goths. " The impatient 
crowd," he writes (Vol. iii, p. 420), 
" rushed at the dawn of day to secure 
their places, and there were many 
who spent a sleepless and anxious 
night in the adjacent porticoes." 
The same phraseology might have 
been used of the English*, whose 
inordinate love for the Theatre 
was only equalled by their ignor- 
ance of Shakespeare and the great 
dramatists. 

IV. The Decline of Literary and 
Dramatic Taste. 

Here again the words of Gibbon 
may most aptly be used to describe 
Twentieth Century Literature and 
Drama In England. 

• See Newspapers of the period. 



of the British Empire t^ 

*' The name of poet was almost 
forgotten ; that of orator was 
usurped by the sophists. A crowd of 
critics and of compilers darkened 
the face of learning, and the decline 
of genius was soon followed by the 
decay of taste.'* (Vol. i, p. 76.) 

Or again, *' The tragic and comic 
muse of the Romans, who seldom 
aspired beyond the imitation of Attic 
genius, had been almost totally silent 
since the fall of the Republic, and 
their place had been occupied by 
licentious farce, effeminate music, 
and splendid pageantry.*' (Vol. iii, 
p. 420.) 

I have studied English writers of 
the Decline with some care. Few 
were really healthy, and, from what 
I can gather, the best among them 
were neglected by the people at 
large. Critics and annotators 
flourished as at Rome ; but genius, 
as at Rome, seems to have been 



i6 The Decline and Fall 

conspicuous by its absence. An 
unworthy imitation of the worst 
elements in contemporary French 
literature seems to have pervaded a 
large section of English art and life. 
This was in part due to the fact 
that the emancipated Englishwoman 
of the age used her freedom for 
selfish rather than National ends. 
For one picture in the National 
Academy, during this epoch, that 
represented her as a Sweetheart, 
inspiring her knight to battle for God 
and his country, there were half-a- 
dozen that showed her forth as a 
Siren luring him to destruction. 
Men boasted that they were 
** Decadents.'' Novels dealing with 
the morphia or cigarette victim 
were more widely read than the 
works of Bunyan or Sir Walter 
Scott. Men and women of all 
classes purchased cheap and gaudily 
bound editions of the Classics to 



of the British Empire 17 

adorn their shelves, but In only a 
few instances were these books read 
with patient devotion. The flimsy 
Musical Comedy, the illustrated 
Magazine, and the Newspaper were 
the chief intellectual food of the 
Nation. I have only found one 
eminent writer among them during 
the period of their decline, and he, 
properly speaking, belongs to the 
Nineteenth Century. Robert Louis 
Stevenson, for such is his name, 
suffered from ill health all his days. 
His Gospel was the Gospel of trying 
to be cheerful, his task " the task of 
happiness." It is distressing to read 
of the thousands who asserted, 
throughout this sad epoch, that the 
only writer who really understood 
them was this spirited invalid. Their 
cry goes up to heaven like that 
of a people sick unto death, and 
the wonder is they never knew 
it. 



i8 The Decline and Fall 

V. Gradual Decline of the Physique 
and Health of the English People. 

Here again Gibbon is our best 
guide, and his sad tale is fully 
paralleled among the facts of English 
Life in the last century. Speaking 
of the Roman legions of The Decline 
he writes, "The relaxation of dis- 
cipline and the disuse of exercise 
rendered the soldiers less able and 
less willing to support the fatigues 
of the service ; they complained of 
the weight of the armour which 
they seldom wore : and they succes- 
sively obtained the permission of 
laying aside both their cuirasses and 
their helmets. The heavy weapons 
of their ancestors, the short sword, 
and the formidable pilum which 
had subdued the world, insensibly 
dropped from their feeble hands." 
Vol. iii. p. 271. 

Similar incidents happened in the 
British Army. Early in the Twen- 



of the British Empire 19 

tleth Century, the rifle, with which 
the English troops had staved off 
defeat in South Africa, was declared 
to be too heavy for them and a 
lighter weapon was substituted for 
it.* Unlike our own, the English 
infantry-man was rarely able to 
carry his knapsack or often his great- 
coat. The number of men who * fell 
out ' on route marches during times 
of peace, or were relieved of their 
rifles by kindly officers, was pheno- 
menal. An eye-witness relates how 
he saw a dozen men of the Guards 
Brigade fall out during a Review at 
Aldershot when their only duty was 
to stand at attention for a somewhat 
trying period. About the same time 
the height and chest-measurement 
which had been the requisite standard 
for service with the Colours was 
reduced. In spite of this reduction 

♦ It may well have been a better weapon. 



20 The Decline and Fall 

thousands upon thousands were 
turned away as unfitted for the 
fatigues of a soldier's life, owing to 
the excessive smoking of cigarettes 
and unhealthy living in general. In 
1904 a Report on Physical Degen- 
eration appeared. Overcrowding, 
insanitary conditions of life, ill- 
conducted factories, the sweating, 
especially of women employees, 
infant mortality, impure milk, the 
evils of excessive indulgence in 
alcohol and tobacco, bad feeding, 
and the increase of insanity were 
among the subjects of this dis- 
heartening document. 

As I have already noticed, the 
English at the opening of the last 
century had, in a large degree, 
ceased to be a nation of active 
habits : this was especially true in 
London and the large towns. Like 
the Romans who assembled to watch 
rival teams of gladiators, they came 



of the British Empire 21 

together in roaring, and often gam- 
bling crowds, to witness the efforts 
of paid Athletes. Cricket and 
football ceased to be the sports of 
England. Teams representing her 
against Australia were composed 
almost entirely of professionals. 
Bowling, the most arduous part of 
what had once been an amateur's 
game, was left, with few exceptions, 
to such men. And, as they ceased 
to play themselves, the English 
insisted more and more that they 
were a Nation of Athletes. 

It was far otherwise. Their 
theatres (thanks to one Barrie*, who 
seems to have had an inkling of the 
truth) were turned into hospitals ; 
their newspapers and and magazines 
were so many eyesores, for the 
patent drugs and supports for the 



* Author of a witty play which exposed the 
disgusting habits of many who suffered from 
excessive devotion to the table. 



22 The Decline and Fall 

emasculated with which their 
columns were filled. But while 
hundreds of thousands realized 
individually that they were not 
physically sane or happy, no one 
seems to have understood whither 
this collective misery must tend. 
Evolution was in the air, but few 
of the English philosophers seem 
to have left their studies and gone 
into the streets to tell their country- 
men that God's unalterable law 
concerning the survival of the fittest 
is just as applicable to the life of a 
Nation as it is to the briefer exis- 
tence of an animal or a human 
being. And hence it came about 
that there was no united effort on 
the part of the English to remedy a 
state of things which was bound in 
the end to place the British Empire 
among those which had ceased al- 
together to control the future of 
the world. 



of the British Empire 23 

VI. The Decline of intellectual and 
religious life among the English, 

No one who has read the foregoing 
account will be surprised to hear 
that the English of the Twentieth 
Century were found wanting in 
religious and intellectual enthusiasm. 
A great deal of piety and social 
activity glistened upon the surface 
of things, it is true ; for weak and 
effeminate minds have always sought 
a solace in false philanthropy or the 
external ceremonies of Religion. 
But as the Century advanced there 
was a noticeable absence of that 
practical and spiritual courage which, 
in former ages, had welded Crom- 
well's Ironsides together, or inspired 
Wilberforce and his compatriots to 
free the slave. And, while thousands 
were busily engaged in tinkering 
with Reform, few had the insight or 
conviction to go to the root of 
things, and deal with first principles. 



24 The Decline and Fall 

Such a line of conduct is only possible 
for men with vigorous bodies and 
unbounded confidence both in God 
and themselves. 

Where was that calm and lofty 
faith which had led mediaeval 
Englishmen to spend three or four 
hundred years in building a Cathe- 
dral ? Where was that undying 
love for lost causes which had been 
so characteristic of days gone by ? 
These had departed, and with them 
there had gone out for ever that 
virtue by which men hold dominion 
over the hearts of their fellows, and 
lead them onward to unquestioned 
victory. 

It was indeed typical of this sad 
era that a series of critical volumes, 
dealing with the religious life of 
London, were presented to the public 
in a smooth white binding, calculated 
to embellish a drawing-room, but 
utterly unsuited for the use of fisher- 



df the British Empire ^5 

men or tent-makers such as the first 
Christians had been. Religion and 
sociology had indeed become, as at 
Rome, a kind of pastime. Thousands 
of well-to-do persons, who would 
never dream of foregoing a portion 
of their annual dividends to shorten 
the hours of their employees or give 
work to the destitute, talked glibly 
about social problems and read 
innumerable soothing volumes on the 
beauty of unselfishness. But few of 
them went forth to battle thought- 
fully with the great problems of their 
age. 

To do this required a grim intellec- 
tual effort and a practical imaginative 
fervour which was rarely discernible 
in Church or Chapel. The Nation 
required to be fanned to a white- 
heat of Cromwellian enthusiasm 
before its countless problems could 
be effectually dealt with ; but no 
Cromwell arose to fan it. 



26 The Decline and Fall 

Gibbon comments on the number 
of strange religions to be found in 
Rome. A careful study of the records 
of English life in the Twentieth Cen- 
tury has convinced me of the numer- 
ous and equally strange creeds which 
found favour in England. ' Christian 
Science ' and Palmistry were widely 
popular among the fashionable 
crowds of London society. Positivism 
and a fateful Determinism provided 
an enervating creed for thousands 
of Socialists and factory ' hands,' 
while the rich dilettante who posed 
as a litterateur sought refuge in the 
sad philosophy of Omar Khayyam, 
whose faith has been summed up in 
the words, " Let us make up in the 
tavern the time we have wasted in 
the kirk." 

The Clergy of other denominations 
worked hard enough in their way, 
but they failed to deal with first 
principles. Nonconformity was too 



of the British Empire 27 

often a social and political society, 
which made little headway among 
the masses, while the Church of 
England only succeeded in doling out 
the threepenny bits of the rich to the 
pauper instead of vigorously assault- 
ing a social system which was 
radically unjust. Shareholders and 
Directors who controlled the capital 
of the country were satisfied if they 
fulfilled the meagre requirements 
of the law in dealing with their 
employees, but they cared little or 
nothing for their health or general 
well-being.* " The highest obtain- 
able interest for our money " was the 
cry that arose yearly among them. 
Having obtained this, a few might 
perhaps acquire a name for philan- 
thropy by pauperising those who, 
under such conditions, refused to 

* Several notable exceptions to this state of 
things existed. I am speaking of Shareholders 
and Directors generally. 



28 The Decline and Fall 

work. But, despite the noble efforts 
of a few hundred earnest thinkers 
and theologians, the Churches grew 
intellectually and spiritually effete. 
What Milton had written two cen- 
turies earlier had at last come true. 

" It is not," he had said, '* the un- 
frocking of a priest, the unmitring of 
a bishop, and the removing him from 
off the Presbyterian shoulders that 
will make us a happy nation : 
no; if other things as great in the 
Church and in the rule of life both 
economical and political^ be not looked 
into and reformed, we have looked 
so long upon the blaze that Zuinglius 
and Calvin have beaconed up to us 
that we are stark blind.''* 

Blind indeed were the Churches 
and their guides of all denoniinations, 

"' Milton's Areopagitica I the italics are mine. 
Milton, if I understand him aright, meant that 
religion covers the whole field of human activity 
from speculative theology down to the Tokio 
housing problem or Korean army reform. 



of the British Empire 29 

and in nothing so much as their 
refusal to co-operate, as Christians, 
against those evils which were 
rapidly dragging their country along 
the road to eternal shame and 
degradation. Misunderstandings and 
unkind suspicions flourished between 
sect and sect ; and all this while 
there were millions upon millions of 
sad disillusioned folk, in lofty palace 
and low hamlet, in mean slums and 
in drab suburbs, crying unto their 
God for some one to tell them how 
to live. The supreme need of the 
Churches was indeed a great in- 
tellectual and religious awakening 
which would have swept aside the 
petty distinctions of rival creeds and 
built for the future upon the basis of 
a wider and more Christian patriot- 
ism. But such an awakening never 
came.* The churches continued to 

^ Why did it not come in 1905 ? 
C 



30 The Decline and Fall 

slumber, and while they slumbered 
the Nation died. 

VII. Excessive Taxation and Muni- 
cipal Extravagance, 

Not the least of those causes 
which resulted in the fall of the 
Roman Empire, was the existence 
at Rome of an elaborate Civil 
Service which crushed private enter- 
prise.* The disorganization of this 
Civil Service during a period of 
storm and stress resulted in the 
most hopeless confusion. As we 
know, it was precisely the same in 
the case of England. Her citizens 
came to look to the State for every- 
thing. It educated, fed, whipped, 
and in some cases even clothed their 
children. It lit their houses and 

* In addition to Gibbon, see Bury's History of 
the Later Roman Empire ^ vol. i, chap, iii ; also 
^ Roman Society in the last Cefitury of the Roman 
Empire^ by Samuel Dill, Book iii, chap. i. 



of the British Empire 31 

lent them light literature| ; it carried 
them to and fro on tramcars ; it 
gave them cheap lodgings, and con- 
ducted scores of similar costly under- 
takings on principles which will be 
recognized by the smallest office-boy 
in Tokio as ignoring the mere 
elements of political economy. 

For as early as the year 1900 we 
find the State entrusting local bodies 
with the right of spending more 
than a hundred million pounds a 
year upon municipal objects. Of 
this vast sum a large portion was 
spent in municipal trading, and as 
the century advanced the money 
thus employed increased enormously. 
Of the enterprises which were thus 
undertaken many were avowedly run 
at a loss. Of the remainder a few 
were sound business concerns, but 

t Large sums were spent by the State on 
Public Libraries, but the investment in serious 
books was a financial loss as they were inade- 
quately used. 



32 The Decline and Fall 

the mass of those which claimed to 
be making a profit did so by allowing 
a quite inadequate sum toward 
yearly depreciations. It followed 
that every year increasing loans had 
to be issued to meet those additional 
sources of expenditure, and the 
increasing interest on such loans 
grew with the general expenditure, 
until life in a large town became a 
burden for any but millionaires or 
paupers. This state of affairs was 
the more extraordinary in that the 
English prided themselves above all 
things on their business qualities. 
Strange as it may seem, they took 
no business interest in electing those 
who were to control municipal 
trading, with the result that men 
conspicuous as Talkers or Party 
Politicians became the leaders of 
Municipal affairs. Knowing full 
well that they were trading with 
other people's money, these talking 



of the British Empire 33 

or political Councillors paid the 
barest attention to the common 
laws which condition success in 
commerce. Smitten with a false 
philanthropy, or desirous of winning 
cheap esteem, they succeeded only 
in pauperising the masses and 
plunging local and national finance 
into a state akin to bankruptcy. 

Mr. Gladstone was a man upon 
whom many aspersions have been 
cast, but few would deny that he was 
a master in the art of finance. Now 
it was a maxim of Mr. Gladstone's 
that '*it is the business of a govern- 
ment to govern and not to trade,'' 
Well had it been for England if her 
citizens had realized the profound 
truth contained in this crisp sentence. 
For government in England meant 
talking ; it meant placing the 
interests of one's party before the 
interests of one's country ; it meant 
fishing for votes and baiting one's 



34 The Decline and Fall 

hook with other people's money. 
Business cannot be run on these 
lines ; it is, like war, a grim affair, 
and should only be undertaken by 
men who fully understand the com- 
plex laws which govern modern 
commerce, and who will incur the 
loss of their private fortunes if 
they disobey them. For while to 
conduct a few enterprises at a loss, 
or a small profit, for the public good, 
is quite justifiable, to do so on a vast 
and increasing scale is to court 
financial ruin. 

VIII. False systems of Education 
prevalent in Britain. 

The object of any true system of 
education is twofold. Firstly, it 
seeks to produce good and earnest 
men, that is to say good citizens — 
secondly, it seeks to give a boy such 
knowledge as will enable him to 
earn his own living, or, supposing 



of the British Empire 35 

this is unnecessary, such knowledge 
as will make him a capable and 
unselfish leader in politics, art, or 
commerce. These two aspects of 
education are however inseparable, 
and it is often impossible for a man 
to be a reliable citizen if his educa- 
tion has not fitted him to follow 
some definite calling. 

Now the English of the Twentieth 
Century quarrelled mightily about 
the first of these two aspects of 
education. Every religious denom- 
ination had its peculiar views on the 
subject of religious training, and 
every one was vastly exercised in 
his mind as to what his neighbour's 
child ought to be taught in the 
National Public or private school 
which it might happen to attend. 
What all failed to realize was that 
there are certain sacred truths in 
regard to life which a child can only 
learn in its own home from the lips 



36 The Decline and Fall 

and from the lives of its parents. 
What young man will go out into 
the world with an instinctive rever- 
ence for women unless he has 
learned to reverence and respect his 
own mother ? What girl will make 
a good wife if she has not learned to 
respect and trust her father or her 
brothers ? The home and not the 
class room is the best school in which 
to educate an Imperial Race. The 
schoolmaster may do much with the 
raw material entrusted to him ; but 
dealing as he must, with boys or 
girls en masse, he rarely finds their 
hearts and minds opening to him 
with that frank confidence which a. 
child intuitively feels towards those 
who brought it into the world. This 
is such a natural and obvious truth 
that it might seem unnecessary for 
me to emphasize it here. I do so 
because there is a growing tendency 
among us for young parents to follow 



of the British Empire 37 

the English and send their children 
to a seminary before they have even 
learned to walk. Excellent as such 
institutions may be, they can never 
supply the place of home, and the 
parent who acquits himself of the 
responsibility of educating his children 
in the fear of God and in a reverent 
love, not for lists of Jewish Kings or 
Apostolic chronology, but for the 
simple narrative of the New Testa- 
ment, does so at the risk of its 
lifelong happiness. Denominations 
may clatter and theologians may 
hold disputations, but the eternal 
struggle between inclination and 
duty is ever with us, and the life of 
Christ is a surer guide than the 
changing beacons of the churches. 

Let us now turn to the more 
practical side of Education which, 
under modern conditions, must often 
be dealt with by the Schoolmaster. 
Here the English were equally to 



38 The Decline and Fall 

blame. It is indeed ludicrous to 
read of the vast sums they spent 
upon education and the hopelessly 
inadequate returns which they got 
for their money. Let us first con- 
sider the National Schools, which 
were supposed to educate the 
masses. The largest proportion of 
the children in these schools were 
destined, presumably, to cultivate 
the land or to follow a handicraft ; 
but neither agriculture, carpentry, 
engineering, nor anything associated 
with practical industry, was taught 
them. The curriculum was, with 
few exceptions, a literary one. 
Young men from Oxford and Cam- 
bridge who had never ploughed a 
field nor even learned to mend their 
own bicycles, were appointed as 
inspectors and generally controlled 
the education of Britain's future 
agricultural labourers and artisans, 
with the result that the few farm 



of the British Empire 39 

labourers who existed took but little 
real interest in their work, and to 
sell newspapers or to do odd jobs 
was the sole ambition of millions who 
should have been skilled mechanics. 
Few persons could be more de- 
voted to books than the writer of this 
humble volume, and he would be 
the last person in the world to deny 
a literary education to any one who 
desires it. But books are not the 
sole means of conveying instruction 
to the mind of youth. To love 
agriculture as a science or to under- 
stand the poetry of a steam engine 
is for thousands a truer source of 
inspiration than tales of bygone 
kings and the whisper of fairylands 
forlorn. It is futile to teach a 
farmer's boy a thousand and one 
facts of history against his will, and 
yet leave him ignorant of the nature 
of the earth, and the soil which he 
will have to plough. Teach him to 



40 The Decline and Fall 

read and to write by all means, and 
if he has a taste for good literature 
encourage him, in every possible 
way, to indulge it ; but if you wish 
him to be an intelligent son of the soil 
do not, in heaven's name, leave him 
ignorant of the laws which condi- 
tion man's success in his great 
struggle against the forces of nature. 

This is to court disaster; for the 
children of such a limp education 
will inevitably despise manual labour 
and the crafts, and persist in think- 
ing that to sit on an office stool in 
Tokio and read Scrappy Bits at 
lunch is nobler than to be an in- 
telligent farmer or artisan. 

This is precisely what happened in 
England. The children of the masses 
grew to despise labour, and to think 
that a gentleman was one who 
was ashamed to use his hands. It 
followed that far too many young 
men, forsaking the sea, forsaking 



of the British Empire 41 

the land, and forsaking the handi- 
crafts, entered upon a business 
career; till the increasing competi- 
tion which ensued led to widespread 
commercial dishonesty* and the 
general stagnation of trade. 

If the education of boys in the 
National Schools of England was 
unpractical and contrary to the 
primitive laws of nature, that of 
the girls was equally wanting in 
common sense. The Report on 
Physical Degeneration, referred to 
above, makes it clear that the girls 
trained under the system were in 
the majority of cases ignorant of 
cooking, of hygiene, and of domestic 
economy. How the English fancied 
that they could establish a lasting 
Empire on the basis of a literary or 
commercial training alone, will 
always remain a mystery. Books 
are excellent things, and the fact 
* See newspapers of the period. 



42 The Decline and Fall 

that humanity has discovered the 
art of printing and can study the 
wisdom of past ages is a high tribute 
to modern civilization ; but a civili- 
zation under v^hich men find it dull 
to plough the fields and women do 
not suckle their offspring is a delusion 
and a sham. 

When we turn to the Public 
School and University system which 
was supposed to equip young English- 
men for public life we find that, if 
not quite so unpractical, it was very 
far from being a success. It presented 
the nation with thousands of genial 
athletes, but did very little to 
promote among her gentlefolk the 
study of present day problems. 
All such study was undertaken by 
young men apart from the general 
curriculum appointed for them by 
masters and professors. Numbers 
of Oxford youths, for instance, served 
in the South African war, but on 



of the British Empire 43 

returning to read so-called Modern 
History, including strategy, at their 
University they were not permitted 
to study for the B.A. degree any 
campaign which could have the 
slightest bearing upon modern war- 
fare.* Questions were set them 
upon the disposition of troops at the 
battles of Bannockburn or Crecy, 
and they were expected to be able 
to draw sketch maps to illustrate 
the Wars of the Roses, but such books 
as Stonewall Jackson and such cam- 
paigns as the American Civil War or 
the Indian Frontier afforded were con- 
sidered to be too near the unpoetical 
present to be studied by future 
leaders of their country. Can we be 
altogether surprised that statesmen 
trained under these conditions knew 
more about golf-sticks than rifles, 
and more about Parliamentary 
tactics than the military require- 
ments of an Empire ? In the same 
* See Oxford University Examination Statutes* 



44 The Decline and Fall 

way, too, the valuable study of the 
Classics was in few instances turned 
to practical use, and thousands 
of educated Englishmen read how 
Athenian democracy perished at the 
hands of demagogues without ever 
dreaming that political, municipal, 
and working-class demagogues were 
destined to be among the most 
salient causes of the future downfall 
of England. There was, in fine, 
among the gentlefolk of England as 
a whole, a great absence of that 
spirit which animated Sidney Smith, 
when he cried, "i care not what 
political party be in power, but I have 
a passionate love for common justice 
and for common sense.'' 

IX. Inability of the British to 
defend themselves and their Empire, 

The last phase in the life of a 
dissolute fellow who dwells among 
hostile neighbours and has lost both 



of the Bfitish Empire 45 

his faith in God and his confidence 
in himself, comes when he is unable, 
nay even unwilling, to defend his 
home and the honour of his women- 
folk against the onslaughts of 
stronger men. For such an one 
we have little pity, and yet such, if 
the truth be told, is the state of 
those great Empires which fail to 
realize God's law concerning the 
survival of the fittest and lose their 
faith and pristine virility. 

This is the fate which befell the 
Roman Empire at the hands of 
vigorous barbarians. It was of no 
avail that it claimed to be a Chris- 
tian Empire. God, if we read history 
aright, seems to have no regard for 
those who call him "Lord, Lord,'' but 
fail to obey His laws of health and 
manly duty.* The Romans, I say, 

*•'* See the remarkable passage in which Jeremiah 
prefaces his account of the destruction of the Jews 
at the hands of a healthier nation with the words 
** Shall I not visit for these things ? saith the Lord : 
and shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation 
as this ? " Chap v. 9 j^ 



46 The Decline and Fall 

fell because they had ceased to obey 
these primitive laws, and it was so 
with the English. Let us weep for 
them, yet, even as we weep, deter- 
mine resolutely that such a terrible 
vengeance from the offended Majesty 
of Heaven fall not upon ourselves. 

The English had a far harder task 
before them than the Romans. In 
the first place they had to meet the 
civilized armies of Europe. The 
opponents of Rome were in many 
instances unskilled barbarians.* In 
the second place, the Roman Empire, 
stretching as it did from Asia Minor 
to Cornwall, was locally more com- 
pact than those scattered Colonies 
and Dependencies which owned 
Britain as their Liege Lady. And 
yet, shout about it as they might, 

* I make this statement with considerable 
reservations. Many of Rome's most formidable 
opponents were those Germans who had served as 
mercenaries in her armies. See Oman : The Art 
of War in the Middle Ages, Chap. i. 



of the British Empire 47 

the English never realized how vast, 
and how easily assailable, their 
Empire was, nor what a duty was 
incumbent upon each citizen if it was 
to be held together and promote the 
spread of justice throughout the 
world. Like some invalid, who 
cannot defend his home, they put 
their trust in mercenaries and native 
troops, and were surprised when 
these suddenly proved inadequate. 

At the opening of the Twentieth 
Century only fifty years had elapsed 
since the Indian Mutiny, and the 
South African war was showing them 
what a large number of troops were 
necessary for the defence of a mere 
fragment of their Empire. I But they 

t "In January, 1900, I found it difficult to 
assemble a force of men and guns large enough 
for the march on Bloemfontein, and I should have 
been relieved of many anxieties if I had felt 
justified in calling on the Government to send me 
immediate reinforcements of Regular units. At 
the time, however, the Regular Army in England 
(excluding the recruits at the dep6ts) had dwindled 
down to nine battalions and eighteen field batteries ^ 



48 The Decline and Fall 

seem to have thought that a fleet 
was their sole need.* 

Let us observe for a moment a few 
aspects of this wide Empire at the 
close of the South African war. In 
the first place the blacks in South 
Africa, to say nothing of the Boers, 
were as five to one. Most of the 
natives in Basutoland were armed 
with Martini-Henri rifles and pos- 
sessed an adequate supply of 
cartridges. The mere numbers of 
these uncivilized barbarians, and 
their knowledge of the grave Native 
problems in the United States, should 
have put the English on their guard, 
even if they had never learned the 

and I was reluctant to put forward demands which 
would have caused a still further reduction." — Earl 
Roberts' statement before the Royal Com7t>.ission 
on War in South Africa. Minutes of Evidence I. , 
page 433. 

* I would here ask the reader to remember 
how, till the very night of their doom, the English 
never realized that, through the increased speed 
of the modern steamship and the submarine march 
of the torpedo, the English Channel had virtually 
become a moat, and Britain was rapidly ceasing 
to be an island* 



of the British Empire 49 

lessons of the Indian Mutiny * To 
the South West lay German West 
Africa, and to judge from a novel 
which appeared in Germany| about 
this time, the Germans appear 
already to have meditated the 
possibilities of acquiring the gold- 
fields of Johannesburg and Kim- 
berley to replenish their Treasury. 
In India and Egypt the Native 
problem was equally urgent. Who 
could foretell what effect the sudden 
lowering of British prestige might 
have in the Soudan, in Somaliland, 
or among the frontier tribes of 
India ?:|: • 

* My attention has been drawn to the Ethiopian 
movement, which was only nipped in the bud by 
the despatch of the South African Constabulary to 
the North of the Transvaal, in Oct., 1904, to check 
the meeting of native chiefs. Vide LeklOf the 
native paper published in Pietersburg. 

t Alluded to in the English House of Lords, 
July nth, 1905. 

t ^.^. South Africa was fought to save India. 
** Ye cannot in one place rule and in another place 
bear service." — See Traffics and Discoveries: A 
Sahib^s War, by Rudyard Kipling. 



50 The Decline and Fall 

How came it that the English 
failed to realize their needs ? Surely 
they might have guessed that the 
Anglo-French entente in 1905 would 
draw closer the bonds of sympathy 
between Germany and Russia. 
Surely they might have suspected 
that, before the century was out, 
some plot would have been con- 
trived for their destruction. Surely 
they might have guessed the possible 
coercion or bribery of the Sultan*. 

* The English were warned of this by an 
anonymous letter from Alexandria, which ap- 
peared in the Spectator as long ago as July 29th, 
190^. The author of this letter, who had private 
sources of information, pointed out the military 
possibilities of the railway which was being built 
by the Sultan from Damascus towards Hedjaz. 
**The real originator of the scheme," he writes, 
**was General von der Goltz, whose plans for 
the defence of the Ottoman Empire included the 
construction of great strategical lines, which 
would enable the Turkish armies to be mobilised 
and concentrated with great rapidity for the 
purpose of defence against invasion or rebellion. 
.... German hostility to Great Britain," he 
continues, "is no new thing. With Turkey 
hostile to the first Moslem Power in the World 
(viz., England), German ambitions might con- 
template the possibility of using the Turkish 



of the British Empire 51 

They might have known that their 
commercial and literary ally, France, 
was too deeply interested in Russia's 
finance to join them in a war against 
her. They might have known that 
it would be mere child's play for a 
revolutionary Russia, having seized 
Persia, to hurl 600,000 men against 
India by no less than three distinct 
routes. They might have realized 
that such an attack would be accom- 
panied by a raid from German West 
Africa and an attempted invasion of 
England. They might have guessed 
that alien-manned corn-ships would 

forces to make a formidable diversion during an 
Anglo- German conflict at Koweit (on the Persian 
Gulf) and on the Egyptian border .... The 
Suez Canal could be blocked with ease. Ma'an 
is only fifteen marches from Ismaila, and though 
the Sinai peninsula and the desert of El Tih are 
inhospitable enough, large armies have entered 
Egypt from the north-east since the dawn of 
history, and the Turkish soldier requires little 
but bread and water and cartridges." It seems 
strange, in the light of after events, that the 
English should have taken no notice of this 
sinister forecast of events, which were really 
destined to happen. 



52 The Decline and Fall 

not prove the most reliable of pro- 
vision agents. They might have 
guessed that the strain oh their 
navy would demand vast reserves of 
trained naval officers and bluejackets. 
They might have guessed that for 
the adequate defence and garrison 
of Africa, Egypt, and India during 
a state of war, to say nothing of 
London, several millions of disci- 
plined civic riflemen would be 
necessary to support their mer- 
cenaries and native troops. Above 
all things they might surely have 
realized the need of a large supply 
of Reserve Officers*, who, though 
civilians, had made the study of war 
their pastime, instead of cards. 

All our Japanese experts are 
agreed that if, in her struggle 

* Their terrible loss of officers in South Africa 
should have taught them this. It was a want 
which Earl Roberts and Lord Kitchener fully 
realized ; but how could this want be supplied 
unless wealthy leisured gentlemen came forward 
to supply it ? 



of the British Empire 53 

against Russia . and Germany, 
England had added such officers 
and armed citizens to an adequate 
supply of hardy seamen she could 
have laughed at defeat. As it was 
she was crippled for want of men.* 
Her fleet was unable to adopt an 
aggressive attitude. It lay en- 
circling an Isle of trembling nerve- 
ridden townsmen, who had for- 
gotten how to play the man for 
their hearths and homes. 

Happy is the man who calmly 
and reverently loves his country, her 
smiling pastures and time-clad hills ; 

* Compare J. R. Seely's account of reasons 
for the fall of the Roman Empire : Roman Im- 
perialism : ** Whatever the remote and ultimate 
cause may have been, the immediate cause to 
which the fall of the Empire can be traced is a 
physical, not a moral, decay. In valour, disci- 
pline, and science the Roman armies remained 
what they had always been, and the peasant 
Emperors of Illyricum were worthy successors of 
Cincinnatus and Caius Marius. But the problem 
was how to replenish these armies. Men were 
wanting ; the empire perished for want of men." 
Lectures and Essays^ page 52 of Macmillan's 
Edition (Eversley Series). 



54 The Decline and Fall 

the sturdy frames of her men, and 
the bright glances of her noble 
women: for him the fields never 
lose their freshness and village 
pleasures never pall. But such an 
one is no idle talker ; he is prepared 
to make sacrifices for v^hat he pro- 
fesses to love. Above all things, he 
is one who looks ahead, who spends 
time, money, and quiet forethought, 
that nothing may happen against 
which adequate preparations have 
not been made. And these are 
greater things than to die. 

Why should I tell again the 
shameful story that is known to 
each of us: of the possessions that 
were stripped from England because 
she had slumbered ; of the Isle 
denuded of troops ; of the corn-ships 
that never came ; of the fleet that 
grew weary with watching ; of the 
dark night, and the crowded trans- 
ports ; of streets that lay sodden 



of the British Empire 55 

with the blood of those who ran 
because they had never learned to 
shoot ; of the women who cursed 
them for cowards when the foreigner 
was quartered in their homes ? 

How came it that a hundred years 
ago, in 1905, when Earl Roberts, 
who had saved them from defeat 
in South Africa, told them in un- 
mistakable language* the needs of 
their Empire, these poor townsfolk 
failed to play the man and realize 
the dangers which surround an 
empire whose inhabitants cannot 
defend it ? How came it that in 
this sad year they told one another 
tales of Nelson |, who had left them 
an ideal that every man was to do his 
duty, but made not the slightest 
effort to find out what that duty 
was ? We can only conclude that 
they were ceasing to love their 

* Speeches in the House of Lords, July nth, 
and at the 'Mansion House, Aug. i, 1905. 

t Their noble admiral who died at Trafalgar 
in 1805, 200 years ago. 



56 The Decline and Fall 

country. They were too busy with 
their commerce and their cargoes, 
their professional athletes and their 
race-horses, to study the past and 
the unalterable decrees of Heaven. 

There was no need for them to 
adopt the lengthy Conscription of 
Europe, but it was absolutely essen- 
tial for the defence of their scattered 
possessions that they should spend 
three or four months of their youth 
in learning the duties of a soldier's 
life.* Their boasted liberty had 
become only another name for 
license. * Hooligans,' as they dubbed 
the undisciplined sons of English 
slums, ran riot in their streets. 
There existed among them no respect 

*■ For the fact that they had been told this see 
Earl Roberts' statement concerning the inef- 
ficiency of the Volunteers and Militia. ** It is 
impossible under the present system to rely upon 
the Volunteers as they are now, or upon the 
Militia. Some change must be made ; either they 
must have more training, or we must use some 
means to create an Army." — Royal Commission 
on War in South Africa, Minutes of Evidence I. , 
page 437- 



of the British Empire 57 

for parents, no reverence for old 
age, nothing but an insane insistence 
that every sorry child of sloth and 
ignorance had an unreasoning right 
to do exactly v^hat he pleased. 
Four months under canvas, a rigid 
discipline, and a sound education in 
the most bracing of all schools, the 
school of war, would have given a 
new tone to the community, and 
compelled every man to realize 
what it meant to be the citizen of 
an Empire which strove to direct 
the aspirations of the world. But 
further, and beyond all this, such a 
training would have crushed for 
ever the spirit of Jingoism and 
unchristian militarism in which the 
English crowed over their petty 
triumphs against native princes, or 
alternately deified and damned 
their generals ; and would have 
substituted for it that soldierly 
and statesmanlike frame of mind 



58 The Decline and Fall 

which is based on a knowledge of 
what grim war really means. Ac- 
quainted with rifles and realizing 
only too well the ghastly possibilities 
of the bayonet, the English * man in 
the street ' would have ceased to be 
a war-poet and have become the 
most peaceful of beings. It is the 
strong and disciplined nature which 
is merciful and just, which is tender 
towards women, and pitiful to the 
weak. It is the bragging but 
ignorant mind which has never been 
disciplined or trained, that takes 
delight in torturing dumb beasts and 
talks cant about the glory of an 
Empire for which it is unwilling to 
make the slightest sacrifice. 

Girt about with a race of dis- 
ciplined civic riflemen, linked as one 
by a fleet which was adequately sup- 
plied with reserves, the British 
Empire might have realized at last 
the dreams of her Roman predecessor 



of the British Empire 59 

and British Peace^ might have been 
an everlasting tribute to that ideal 
of sober Christian discipline which 
was set forth by St. Paul. 

Where is the man so dull of heart 
that he fails to conceive the daring 
possibilities of such an Empire, — 
a duty-loving, disciplined Empire, 
sober, and self-reliant, sworn to- 
gether for the protection of the 
weak, resolute in its mighty deter- 
mination to preserve the peace of 
the world and hand on to its children 
the tradition that an Englishman 
was not one who shrieked about 
Imperialism, but a strong man armed 
who kept the palace of Justice and 
Peace secure and inviolable ? 

And now I would remind my 

countrymen, and particularly those 

youths and maidens for whom this 

book has been written, that such a 

♦ This daring dream would of course have been 
best realized by a joint union of the Anglo-Saxon 
race, including America. 



6o The Decline and Fall 

task has fallen to Japan. Let us 
realize the profound nature of that 
ideal which we must now set before 
us. In many points we resemble the 
English: we have the same sturdy 
physique which was theirs in the 
days of Queen Elizabeth* ; the same 
faith in God and ourselves. Like 
them we are an Island race on the 
verge of a great Continent with an 
increasing trade and a boasted Navy. 
Let us read the history of past 
Empires and beware. Let us study 
the Decline and Fall of England, as 
the English should have studied the 
Decline and Fall of the Roman 
Empire. 

FOR THE GOOD OF THE 
RACE.! 
Tokio, ^005. 

* The Queen under whom they defeated the 
Spanish Armada, a victory which has been com- 
pared to the Battle of the Sea of Japan. 

t This is the nearest translation of the original 
Japanese ftom de plume which I can find. — 
[Translator.] 



PRESS NOTICES 

( Continued from back of title.) 

*' Every one who has the welfare of England at 
heart should read ' The Decline and Fall of the 
British Empire.'" — Sunday Itmes. 

' * There are many happy thoughts and sayings 
in the little book." — Morning Leader, 

"An undoubtedly clever bit of Cassandra 
work." — The Glasgow Evening Times. 

*' The book contains much sound common sense 
and not a little matter of a debatable character." 
— Manchester Guardian. 

"Some national failings are clearly stated. The 
brochure conveys many a useful lesson." — Sheffield 
Daily Telegraph. 

** Not without some cleverness, and points out 
some flaws in our armour." — The Liverpool Daily 
Courier. 

*'Some pretty stern facts that deserve the 

attention of all thinking men Compels 

attention and tries to teach us how to think im- 
perially, in a very real sense." — Newsagent and 
Booksellers' Review. 

** Contains some warnings of a salutary character 
which statesmen and social reformers might do 
well to heed." — The Presbyterian. 

** At this particular time, this brochure will, no 
doubt, prove of particular interest to many." — 
Civil Service Gazette. 

"Cleverly conceived and admirably worked 
out." — Western Daily Press. 



Press Notices 

" Worthy of consideration by every citizen of 
this vast Empire. The author may be congratu- 
lated on having put his unusually vivid imaginative 
powers to some practical use." — Oxford Times, 

**The attitude of the writer is that of the 
moralist rather than the humorist. And the 
chief moral is that Britain is paving her way for a 
fall by the want of sincerity and strenuousness in 
her national life." — Oxford Chronicle, 

" Conveys a hundred useful and much-needed 
lessons." — The Chard and Ihninster News. 

** Another Chesney come to judgment.*' — Public 
Opinion. 

** It would indeed be a triumph for the little 
brochure if it could induce a return to a healthier 
and more vigorous life." — Exeter Flying Post. 

** We may hope that his efforts will not be 
wasted in trying to make his fellow countrymen 
* think imperially.'" — British- Canadian Review. 

** The author clearly believes that he has a 
message for his fellow-countrymen, and one that 
is of urgent import to them." — Montgomery 
County Times. 

** There is undoubtedly much truch in the 
writer's remarks." — Financial Chronicle. 

**It is undeniable that there are some ugly 
symptoms in the body politic at the present time 
pointing to deep-seated disease, and for this reason 
this Oxford treatise is to be welcomed. If it only 
makes people think a little more of the serious 
problems of life and a little less of the trifles of 
daily existence, it will have done some service." — 
London Argus. 



ALDEN A CO., LTD., OXFORD. 



BY THE SAME AUTHOR. 
To be published early in October. 



'?he Cand "tfe Cove. ' 

A VOLUME OF Constructive Essays 

IN MATTERS RELIGIOUS, POLITICAL, AND MILITARY : 
WRITTEN IN A FRESH AND ORIGINAL MANNER. 



• * This volume is of far more importance than the Decline 
and Fall. It was while writing these cheerful constructive 
Essays that the idea occurred to the author of predicting the fall 
of Great Britain if her citizens did not learn to take an enlight- 
ened individual interest in the civic, religious, and military 
problems of their country. The price of 77ie Land we Love is 
not yet settled, but every effort will be made to put it within the 
reach of those whose resources are limited. 



©If orb : 

ALDEN & CO, LTD., BOCARDO PRESS. 

London j 

SiMPKXN, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co. Ltd. 



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